How writing is like dieting


Confession time: I like food. Especially my hubby’s chicken wings. Someone should seriously erect a monument to them. True story.

I grew up in the Rio Grande Valley in the southernmost tip of Texas. Palm trees, an ocean breeze and pachanga fare wrapped me in ambient splendor. (In case you don’t know, a “pachanga” is a party replete with fajitas, tortillas, pico de gallo, guacamole, frijoles a la charra, and lots of friends and family.) Dieting amidst all that delightful cuisine was a seeming impossibility. And then I went and married a chef. So usually when I say the word diet, I follow it with something cerebral like “shmiet”.

dieting, writing, overwhelmed

Photo by o5com

Yes, dieting can be scary. Daunting. Infuriating. Frustrating. Kind of like writing.

I’ve spent a lot of days fretting over counting calories and counting words, trimming my figure and trimming my novel. After years of juggling these things, I’ve discovered

How writing is like dieting:

  1. It’s something you know you need to do but struggle with starting.
  2. Before you begin, you take stock of the things you need to give up that will stand in the way of achieving your goal.
  3. You set goals. Small, measurable goals to keep you going until you reach the big one.
  4. The first two weeks are the hardest as you adjust to new behavior and eliminate old, bad habits.
  5. Soon, you see a payoff. You gain confidence, get a little stronger.
  6. Within a month to six weeks, you have established new habits, new routines, and you genuinely feel better.
  7. When you reach your goal, you don’t quit. You work to maintain the new life you’ve created and set new goals.

The payoffs for establishing this new life are huge. You will have more energy, be stronger, more motivated, and won’t be the insecure person who embarked on the journey.

Writing, like dieting, is never easy. But nothing worth the reward ever is.

What bad writing habits do you need to lose?


4 thoughts on “How writing is like dieting

  1. Great analogy! I really like the idea that after a while you will see a payoff in your writing. When I first started seriously writing, I didn’t have the confidence to think anything would come of it. But now that I’ve continued to get stronger with each piece I write, I know that as long as I don’t give up I will reach my goals. Thanks for reminding me of that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks, Kristin. I see big payoffs in your writing life. Your discipline, the writing itself, as well as your confidence. I admire you and hope that I, too, can “write myself healthy”. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I will herewith confess my bad writing habit, and it is all your fault, Heather, for writing this wonderful post. Here goes: I sometimes have a hard time starting. As in, I check email and internet first. The thing is, once I get going, I’m off and running and life is good. But, as you mentioned, it can be a struggle to get there. I do find (and I learn this over and over again) that once I’m accomplishing a regular writing practice (at the moment, working on my novel every morning) it is much, much easier to shed those bad habits. Now, if only I could shed a few extra pounds…

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